Loosestrife: A Sunday Sonnet

for Oliver (“peacemaker”), Theodore (“Gift of God”) and Lysimachus (Not the warrior of Third Century Thrace but the proto-botanist physician of minor Fifth Century renown and the first Western identifier of the lythrum salicaria plant commonly known in English as Loosestrife)

An etymological blunder brought
This blood beknighted flow’r upon my banks
Lysimachus who found it, someone thought,
Was not himself a name for English thanks.
“Exotic” Greek’s extracted fools gold ore
Gave name to flow’r it never meant to mean:
Lusís – loosen; makhē – akin to war –
Now “loose-strife” dons our death in purple, green.
And shall their beauty battle other plants,
As noxious weeds along my very creek,
I might decide that all names can incant –
For how else could this naming truth bespeak?
And then a grateful sigh for naming sons
For “peace” and for “receipt of what God’s done.”

July 25, 2021

You can listen to my read it here

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